Tag Archives: Nordicana

Artist Showcase with Fayen

Fayen are an acoustic duo from Trondheim in Norway who bring their previous experiences of playing bluegrass music and channelling that into the Nordicana genre of music coming from Norway. Nordicana is Americana music with a Scandinavian twist. They first met playing traditional bluegrass 11 years ago and then became a couple in 2007 and now developed into fully fledged duo who are making stellar signs for your ears. Their new EP ‘From Here On Out‘ was released on 25 June 2021.Luckily all the music was recorded before the pandemic and before their lovely boy was born. The duo where music teachers Namibia and then in 2015 they Wanted to become more involved on the music scene and and eventually they became Fayen.

The sound of the album was deliberately trying to capture an atmosphere that subconsciously you will feel that you are listening to a live experience or as close to one as humanly possible. With songs such as ‘Meander Love‘, ‘Dark Horse‘ and ‘Hummingbird‘. We also get to hear a live acoustic version of ‘Hummingbird‘ which is simply sensational and will make you totally fall in love with this band. Some of the songs on the album have taken over a decade in being crafted and being brought to an audience to be enjoyed with your eyes closed. So that you can fully appreciate a phenomenal audio experience.

With the birth of their second child in the fall of 2021, Fayen are looking at the logistics of taking their ever-growing family with them when they go touring and playing to audiences and fans alike in Norway.

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Fayen. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S5 Ep 3 ~ Ingvild Flottorp

Ingvild Flottorp is a fabulously talented 22 year old Nordicana (Norwegian Americana) artist from Åmli, Norway. Ingvild comes from a family of musicians that includes her older brother and sister Johanne and Tobias who play together in Ruby Red and the Moonshine Brothers while Johanne also plays in the legendary The Northern Belle band.

Ingvild is the next generation of singer songwriters to come out of Norway to carry the flame for the Nordicana music scene. Her voice and music are reminiscent of Iris Dement and Kate Bush but with lush country overtones.

Her debut album ‘It All Seems So Clear’ by Vestkyst Records came out in April 2021 and it’s a spellbinding display of virtuoso lyrics, heavenly vocals supported by sublime pedal steel and fiddle.

‘I Don’t Believe You Anymore’ by Ingvild Flottorp

In the podcast host CloudwatcherUno and Ingvild talk openly about the joys and lows of bringing an album to life only to have it nearly snatched away by the pandemic and the lockdown that followed not only in Norway but across the globe. It meant that the young star wouldn’t be able to promote her album by singing live to audiences across Norway.

With the help of Tobias who produced the whole album something magical has been born. Shania Twain was Ingvild’s hero and as a young girl dressed up and performed in videos for her siblings. This early exposure to country music from her father on road trips influenced her love for this genre. There’s also a rich folk tradition of making honest music that connects with audiences. The song writing process can sometimes take up to a year in trying to capture the sound that Ingvild is looking for.

Making and recording music brings joy to Ingvild and to us as fans of her imagination and you just have to listen to these magnificent songs. It took a year before Ingvild found a label that would champion her sound and promote it to a wider audience. Looking forward Ingvild has many more songs for her sophomore album which promises to be in a different direction.

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Ingvild Flottorp. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S4 Ep1 ~ Darling West

Darling West are the cosmic folk duo hailing from the land of Norway who have released Spelleman-winning (Norwegian Grammy) album ‘Vinyl and a Heartache’ and such hits as ‘Rolling On’, ‘Traveller’ and ‘The Sweetest Tune’. Host CloudwatcherUno sits down with artists Mari and Tor Egil Kreken to talk about their music, gorgeous lyrics and phenomenal harmonies and melodies. In the podcast Darling West perform live acoustic versions of ‘Rolling On’ and ‘Loneliness’ and there’s also the album version of ‘The Sweetest Tune’ that starts the show.

Mari and Tor Egil Kreken are Darling West.

Darling West started life as folk trio with very dramatic thoughts on how they would be a band and ended up more into cosmic folk territory with electric guitars, drums and the banjo. Tor plays claw hammer style banjo like his Appalachian heroes of the US. Darling West’s sound started out as an interest in old fiddle tune time songs with mountain folk vibe similar to the music from the film ‘O Brother Where Art Thou?’ It was a jumping off point for the band to start their exploration of building and writing their songs.

‘O Brother Where Art Thou’ (2000) Directed by Joel & Ethan Coen

The last EP ‘Interpretations’ explores their love of pop tunes through a country landscape. The music on the EP brings them joy and that translates to the listener when they hear the tracks ‘Don’t Start Now’, ‘Pamela’ and ‘Bulletproof’. It’s a way of expanding their audience’s expectations of the band. It was a challenge to find the tenderness within the original lyrics and the almost harsh production style and reimagine with a much softer gentler interpretation.

‘Bulletproof’ from the Darling West’s Interpretations EP _ Video from their Friday Sessions series

Darling West also bring their sound to life by showcasing their music through their Friday Sessions cover videos available on YouTube and Instagram. They bring the joy of their music by collaborating with fellow artists such as Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra. The ‘Friday Sessions’ started out as a response to the duo experiencing the lockdown in Norway and not being able to go out but still wanting to connect with their fans and audience. It’s a lot of work learning a new song every week and then record it flawlessly as a live video to such a high professional standard. Don’t expect the sessions to continue forever though as the duo need to work on releasing their own original music.

‘Gold Dust Woman’ performed by Darling West featuring Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra

One of my favourite songs from the album ‘We’ll Never Know Unless We Try’ is ‘Home’ written by Tor Egil with Mari in their family’s cabin and was a song that just came out so easily and encapsulates the cosmic folk catalogue of Darling West. You can feel the influence of Gillian Welch in the lyrics and it sounds like poetry put to music.

The duo have adapted as well as they can to having to put touring to one side and have now been able to focus on the Friday Sessions, their songcraft and building a nice home for themselves to create an atmosphere conducive to blossoming their creativity. Without the pressure of trying to make a Darling West record has enabled them to explore different genres, sounds and musicality.

Darling West showcasing the best that Nordicana music has to offer to the listening world.

Growing up Tor Egil started off wanting to play football but that obsession was overtaken by learning to play the guitar while listening to his older brothers record collection. In junior high school reading about musicians playing their instruments and touring with their bands, Tor Egil knew this was going to be his life. When Mari and Tor met 15 years ago, Mari didn’t even play an instrument. Mari always enjoyed singing and her father always sang as a way to relax. There was always country music on the radio. After 7 years together Mari also wanted to become a part of the musical community in a real way and bought her first mandolin. It took a lot of practice before Mari felt that she had the sound she wanted from her instrument and could call herself a musician. It was all worth it as the duo have released four albums showing their incredible virtuosity, skill and range in producing stellar music.

Lockdown has brought Darling West the time they need to craft their songs and focus on their sound.

Mari and Tor Egil don’t right formulaic music or middle of the road tunes for them there is no formula that they stick to. They want to keep their music as alive as possible and act as a homage to the Norwegian mountains. Speaking metaphorically if they found themselves in lifeboat having to recue their songs then they would save ‘Darling West’, ‘Vinyl and a Heartache’, ‘Someone Like You’, ‘Rolling On’, and River.

Mari and Tor Egil from the podcast. Photo: CloudwatcherUno

Darling West are at the forefront of the Nordicana music scene and bringing their own twist to the traditional Americana/ Appalachian music that’s been produced and being released. Their music is full of guitar, banjo and pedal steel which envelops the listener transporting them to a mythical country and western world. Going forward the duo want to focus more on their own song writing and they have more time to really record the songs they want in the style and production that showcases their music the best. A new album will arrive and when it does you know it’s going to be fantastic.

Darling West partners in music, life and storytelling.

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Darling West. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and wherever you listen to your podcasts.

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S2 Ep8 ~ Sweetheart

John-Arne Gundersen and Anne Mette Hårdnes from Sweetheart

The Spellemann (Norwegian Grammy) award winning Sweetheart have just released a new self titled album ‘Sweetheart’ released by the label Mother Likes It Records It’s a phenomenal achievement for this band and one that places them on the music map. Sweetheart are John-Arne Gundersen and Anne Mette Hårdnes and hail from Norway. In 2003/4 Sweetheart was a three piece collective and then more of a country rock band. After a 14 year absence in 2018 the band was reformed into a more melancholic sounding band that currently tugs at your heart strings that carries you along into a different universe full of longing and memories of what could have been.

Sweetheart performing live on stage.

The new self titled album ‘Sweetheart’ explores the sense of missing something or someone. The songs feel like poems brought to life by the intense ghostly vocals that lay open the human condition.

‘Ghosts’ by Sweetheart from the self titled album ‘Sweetheart’ released by Mother Likes It Records

We get to hear the acoustic version of ‘Leaving for Stockholm’ which describes the true life experience of what it feels like when someone you love leaves to travel away from the family home. We also hear the acoustic track ‘Can We Make It Out Of Here Alive’ a song that could be an anthem for 2020. There’s also a favorite of mine ‘The Pines By The River’ that opens the podcast.

You need to add Sweetheart to your playlist.

Being a musician was always a childhood dream for Anne Mette and one that she always wanted to follow through into adulthood. Meeting John-Arne has focused her energies with his in producing an album that channels her beautiful voice to full effect. The turning point for John-Arne was listening to the album ‘Heartbreaker’ from Ryan Adams.

John-Arne Gundersen and Anne Mette Hårdnes from Sweetheart talking on the podcast. Photo: CloudwatcherUno © 2020

Click down below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Sweetheart. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and many other platforms.

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S2 Ep3 ~ So Are We

So Are We are songwriters Guro Vikingstad (L) and Stian Haslie (R)

So Are We are a phenomenal duo who are a refreshing change in the world of Americana music. Guro’s voice is precisely the breath of fresh air you need in your music streams. And add Stian’s dreamy guitar and you’ve got a killer combination to make sure you have their songs playing on repeat.

‘LA Love’ by So Are We

In this podcast CloudwatcherUno sits down with Guro and Stian to talk about growing up in their native Norway and being exposed to the English language in all its forms from movies, television and most importantly music. It’s their mutual love of music that brought them together not only as songwriters but as a couple. In this podcast we get to hear two acoustic songs ‘Be Alright’ and ‘Alive Again’ with ‘LA Love’ as a bonus track.

Guro Vikingstad and Stian Haslie from the podcast. Photo: CloudwatcherUno © 2020

We also discuss what it takes for artists to create, produce and release music in these pandemic times and what drives Guro and Stian to want to showcase their sound onto the global stage. Norway has seen an explosion of singer songwriters who have carved out a place for themselves in this uniquely western of genres.

‘Alive Again’ by So Are We

Having just released their latest single ‘LA Love’ from their upcoming album ‘Piece of the Puzzle’ out on 9th October 2020 the talented duo are making sure their musical vision is being heard loud and clear.

‘Piece of the Puzzle’ is the upcoming album by So Are We.

Click down below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring So Are We. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and many other platforms.